Person

Melannie Denise Cunningham

Location:

Tacoma, Washington

Occupation:

Racial Activist and Communications Consultant

Melannie Denise Cunningham is a multicultural activist in Tacoma, Washington working on critical race theory-aligned equity, racism, and racial recognition matters. Cunningham promotes conferences with left-of-center speakers and provides educational training to students and teachers.

Background

Melannie Denise Cunningham has worked for Pacific Lutheran University since 2006. [1] She has been the director of multicultural outreach and engagement since 2016 and was previously the director of multicultural recruitment. [2] As director, Cunningham promotes conferences on racial equity and multiculturalism that have included speakers from Black Lives Matter and the State of Washington Office of Equity. [3]

Cunningham also had previous jobs with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Defense and as the Equal Employment Opportunity officer in Tacoma, Washington. [4] Cunningham holds an MBA from Pacific Lutheran University and is pursuing a doctorate from Fielding Graduate University with a concentration in Inclusive Leadership for Social Justice. [5] In 2018, Cunningham won the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize and began promoting herself as the “253 Peace Queen.” [6]

Equity and Wokeness

Cunningham is on the board of directors of Graduate Tacoma, an organization promotes equity, dismantling institutional racism, and inequality from cradle to career. [7] Cunningham has talked about people of different groups in the community need to wake up and stated they need to be “woke.” [8] Cunningham joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in criticizing Trump administration immigration policies. [9] Cunningham also questioned diversity in the Republican Party, asking, “Is everyone white?” [10]

In 2019, Cunningham was paid $1,500 for a day to speak to students and staff at the White River School District. [11] For this program, boys and girls were separated and while the boys were taught how to be kind and respectful, the girls were asked how to be kind among all the mess and how to be more inclusive. [12] The day ended with a staff meeting on examining your own hidden bias, overt and covert comments, and addressing racism in class. [13]

In 2019, Melannie Denise Cunningham and her sister Audrey Cunningham started a podcast entitled, What You Say? Real Sisters, Real Talk. [14] They have recorded more than 50 episodes on subjects such as critical race theory, social justice, systemic racism, defunding the police, and Black Lives Matter. [15]

Peace Works United

In 2019, Cunningham began the nonprofit Peace Works United. [16] Among the values of Peace Works United is to promote truth and equity. [17] The Paths to Peace Social Skills conferences from Peace Works United provide youth programs on equity and anti-racism. [18] Peace Works United has never raised more than $50,000 a year since inception. [19]

The Cunningham Network

Cunningham is the President and CEO of The Cunningham Network, Inc. which provides public relations, marketing, and media services with a focus on multicultural messaging. [20] The organization states it was founded in 1990, but articles of incorporation were not filed with the Washington Secretary of State’s office until 2010. [21]

References

  1. “Melannie Denise Cunningham.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/melannied/. ^
  2. “Melannie Denise Cunningham.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/melannied/. ^
  3. Pacific Lutheran University. www.plu.edu. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.plu.edu/news/archive/2017/01/27/peoples-gathering/; Pacific Lutheran University. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.plu.edu/news/archive/2021/04/06/tpg-spring21/. ^
  4. Melannie Denise Cunningham. “What is Your Mission?” TEDxTalk Tacoma. May 2013. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uLIzXWh2gE. ^
  5. “Melannie Denise Cunningham.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/melannied/. ^
  6. Lisosky, Joanne. “Tacoma’s Peace Queen Receives Invitation to Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.” South Sound Magazine. December 5, 2018. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://www.southsoundmag.com/arts-entertainment/tacoma-s-peace-queen-receives-invitation-to-nobel-peace-prize-ceremony/article_6389a8b5-44d4-5f1e-abf6-eb4905bceef6.html. ^
  7. Graduate Tacoma. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://www.graduatetacoma.org/about-the-foundation-for-tacoma-students/; State of Washington Office of Financial Management. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/shr/Diversity/DEIMEDIA/Melannie%20Denise.pdf. ^
  8. 253 Peace Queen YouTube channel. “Peace Queen Talks – Introduction – Woke Tacoma.” June 27, 2018. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWzESo_yoJM. ^
  9.  Twitter. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://twitter.com/thecollegelady/status/1008510918093783040?cxt=HHwWgICqkcbV-f4bAAAA. ^
  10. Twitter. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://twitter.com/thecollegelady/status/1008510918093783040?cxt=HHwWgICqkcbV-f4bAAAA. ^
  11. White River School District Invoice. March 26, 2019. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Melannie-Denise-Cunningham_White-River-School-District-WA_2019_1500-for-22Presentation…to-students-regarding-kindness22-22staff-regarding-equity-and-inclusion22.pdf. ^
  12. White River School District Invoice. March 26, 2019. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Melannie-Denise-Cunningham_White-River-School-District-WA_2019_1500-for-22Presentation…to-students-regarding-kindness22-22staff-regarding-equity-and-inclusion22.pdf. ^
  13. White River School District Invoice. March 26, 2019. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Melannie-Denise-Cunningham_White-River-School-District-WA_2019_1500-for-22Presentation…to-students-regarding-kindness22-22staff-regarding-equity-and-inclusion22.pdf. ^
  14. “What You Say?” Apple Podcasts. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-say-u/id1475385335. ^
  15. “What You Say?” Apple Podcasts. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-say-u/id1475385335. ^
  16. IRS Determination Letter on Peace Works United. June 6, 2019. https://apps.irs.gov/pub/epostcard/dl/FinalLetter_83-1532853_PEACEWORKSUNITEDINC_02072019_01.tif. ^
  17. Peace Works United. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://peaceworksunited.org. ^
  18. Peace Works United. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://peaceworksunited.org. ^
  19. Peace Works United IRS filings. www.irs.gov. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/detailsPage?ein=831532853&name=Peace%20Works%20United%20Inc.&city=Lakewood&state=WA&countryAbbr=US&dba=&type=CHARITIES,%20DETERMINATIONLETTERS,%20EPOSTCARD&orgTags=CHARITIES&orgTags=DETERMINATIONLETTERS&orgTags=EPOSTCARD. ^
  20. “Melannie Denise Cunningham.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/melannied/. ^
  21. Washington Secretary of State website. www.sos.wa.gov. The Cunningham Network, Inc. UBI number: 603011001. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/BusinessSearch/BusinessInformation; “Melannie Denise Cunningham.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/melannied/. ^
  See an error? Let us know!